1986 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "Cask 23" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L) (lightly soiled label)

SKU #900907 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 This was one of the most controversial wines in my tastings. Several tasters whined that the wine's herbal, sweet, cedary, coffee, chocolatey, jammy cassis character was too exaggerated and obvious. The wine is silky and voluptuous, a la a great Pomerol, and is beginning to reveal some amber/orange hues in its murky, deep garnet color. It is an interesting, provocative, extremely complex and well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon that offers many more facets than the mainstream toasty new oak/blackcurrant school of California Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking. It appears to have reached full maturity, but my experience suggests most Stags Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 offerings surprise their critics by possessing much greater longevity than such flashy, flamboyant wines usually do. This exotic wine will undoubtedly drink well for 10-15 more years. What does this wine taste like? Imagine taking twenty different dishes from an Asian restaurant, several bottles of barbecue sauce, a block of Valrhona chocolate, throwing all of them into a cuisinart, and then adding to this concoction several glasses of black-raspberry and grape juice. I loved it! (RP)  (8/1996)


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Price: $239.99
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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.